Saluting the colonel: there's something comforting about 14+1 rounds of .45 ACP.

Author:John, Jeff
Position:Cover Story

Para-Ordnance changed the world of 1911s with the debut of the 14-shot, high-capacity, single-action 1911 .45 ACP, giving shooters the ability to carry a pistol charged with the equivalent of two conventional magazines in the gun. The first guns had aluminum frames to keep the weight the same as a standard Government Model, but the later all-steel guns have found more popularity, heavy as they are with the extra payload.

I've become quite fond of Para's next great creation--the LDA trigger system--and find I shoot it better than I do a single-action auto. I've personally been a revolver man in my later years and I adapt very easily to the LDA's sweet and light action. It reminds me of what the original Colt Python trigger felt like. These days, I have to practice quite a bit with a single-action auto to get back up to speed. Of course, watching me speed shoot is akin to watching snail races, but that's neither here nor there. It's just easy for me to pick up a Para LDA and shoot reasonably well right off" the bat.

Single Or Double?

I'm still ambivalent about single-stack vs. double-stack .45 autos. The trigger reach is comfortable with both frame sizes to my medium-sized hands, but the single stack feels a tad more comfortable.

Perhaps its because I've shot 1911s quite a bit in the past. Still, the farther I get from civilization, the better I like the idea of having the gun with its reload on my belt. There's some comfort in having 14 rounds of .45 ACP instantly at my disposal. There is one downside to the double stack. It is very difficult to load the final six rounds without a mag loader The ADCO Super Thumb,, (800) 775-3687, is light, easy to pack and makes loading the hi-caps painless, but single-stack mags are a snap to load and quality mags are easy to find, too. I long ago decided to own a Para and layed in a quantity of 14-shot mags prior to the expired federal and new California 10-shot limit. If I didn't already own legal hi-cap mags, I'd opt for a single stack. They're flatter, more concealable and make more sense than a double-wide with an abbreviated payload.

As much as I like adjustable sights, there are fewer things to go wrong with a sturdy set of fixed sights. The Colonel has low-profile fixed 3-dot sights drift adjustable for windage. The front is set in a dovetail and can be replaced to adjust elevation, but was the proper height on my test pistol. The rear is gently rounded for a snag-free draw.


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